Renowned artists agency breaks up

The London artist manager David Sigall has decided to retire, The company he headed, Ingpen & Williams, will split in two with managers going in different directions.

David Sigall is set to retire this autumn from his post as a director after forty-four years with the company. His decision, reached after long deliberation with fellow director Jonathan Groves, has prepared the ground for the relaunch of the business in September under Jonathan Groves’ name. Groves and his existing team will continue to represent the same artists and work from the same address as Ingpen & Williams. Thomas Hull, who joined Ingpen & Williams twenty-six years ago, will leave to become Director of Artist Management at Maestro Arts on 1 June 2016, while Nicki Wenham will move to Maxine Robertson Management Ltd in September and continue to manage many of David Sigall’s existing artists.

Ingpen’s stars were Pierre Boulez, Georg Solti, Alfred Brendel and Joan Sutherland. Younger artists of that calibre were never going to be easy to develop.

 

david sigall

So: Myriam Blundell and Thomas Hull to join Maestro Arts as Directors of Visual Arts and Artist Management, respectively.

On 1 June 2016 Myriam Blundell from Myriam Blundell Projects, and Thomas Hull from Ingpen & Williams will join Maestro Arts bringing their clients with them. Myriam will be Director of Visual Arts and Thomas will be Director of Artist Management.

Rachel Van Walsum remains as Managing Director with Joeske van Walsum as Director.

Jordi Martin, who has been with the company from the outset, managing artists such as François-Xavier Roth, is appointed Director and Nicholas Goldwyn becomes Company Secretary.

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  • It’s interesting surely to note that while David Sigall headed the agency, it had been founded just after the Second World War by the formidable Joan Ingpen. Believing that an agency in those days needed at east two names above the door, she added the name of Williams – her dog!

    Georg Solti was one of Ingpen’s first clients. When appointed to the Royal Opera, Solti asked Inpen to join him in a role which today would be called Artistic Administrator. He then took her to Paris for his short reign there, before she later moved on to the same role at the Met. With the move to the Royal Opera she sold off the agency business she had run for only 15 years. Now, the name Ingpen, once such a key figure in musical life in Britain (she also co founded the Philharmonia Orchestra with Walter Legge), will disappear to join those other artists agents who are now all but forgotten – Emmie Tillettt, Ian Hunter, Basil Horsfield, Sander Gorlinsky, John Coast, Lotte Medak . . .

    • I worked for Basil Horsfield – years ago – in his office in Covent Garden and then in Islington…. also remember Sander Gorlinsky, John Coast, Lotte Medak. Howard Hartog, Victor Hochhauser… and many others from my days at RCA Records….

  • I didn’t expect to find this news so jarring. Joan was my mother’s mentor and it will be, indeed, very strange not to have her name present in some way in the business. But Jonathan will, I’m sure, continue to carry the old-fashioned values that used to make we agents repositories of trust, not objects of suspicion.

    Looking through the list of names posted by Nick brings back a flood of memories. Basil Horsfield at AIM in Regent’s Park Terrace, Sandor Gorlinsky’s discrete two room offices in Albermarle Street, Ingpen and Williams in Kensington High Street, John Coast in Knightsbridge, my parents working from offices in their home in Weybridge.

    It was a less flashy business, a business where knowledge of voices, of technique, of repertoire was of the utmost importance. A business where we kept our word and were valued for it.

    I remember, as a teenager, John Coast turning to me at lunch (during recording sessions at Walthamstow Town Hall). ‘This used to be a business for gentlemen’, he said. ‘No longer.’

  • I count that as splitting into 3 rather than 2 but – no matter – it’s a predictably civilised way to bring the curtain down on a very civilised firm. It’s interesting to note that no less than 3 leading UK artist management companies over the years carried the names of influential lady founders: Emmie Tillett, Lies Askonas and Joan Ingpen. I seem to recall that Williams was the dog.

    All power to Jonathan, Thomas and Nicki , their teams and their rosters. And may David enjoy a long and happy retirement.

    • Hard to recall now that Ibbs & Tillett was actually founded back in 1906 and that after the death of John Tillett after World War II, the company was left in the hands of his formidable widow Emmie, soon accompanied by her faithful secretary Beryl Ball. While Emmie’s empire covered most of the United Kingdom and handled, I have read somewhere, 70% of the country’s music business, she herself was totally resistant to change. Many of the young managers she brought in to her company tried to persuade her to move with the times, but she refused. So they left and joined other agencies or founded their own smaller, boutique agencies which were more in tune with artists needs of those days, some of which remain today.

      Christopher Hunt was the first to depart. Others included Jasper Parrott and Terry Harrison who founded HarrisonParrott with the help of funding from James Wolfensohn who was later to become President of the World Bank; Martin Campbell-White to Harold Holt; and a little later Robert Rattray, now Artistic Administrator at the Met, to Lies Askonas. Emmie had also arranged to take-over the even older Harold Holt Agency and placed Ian Hunter in charge after he left the Edinburgh Festival. He then bought Harold Holt from her.

      Emmie died in 1982 and was spared the ignominious end of the company. This involved relocation from the prestigious but drab Wigmore Street offices to more cramped accommodation in the Edgware Road and a bankruptcy with rumours of mishandling of artists fees.

  • I have known David and Jonathan ever since I started in the Music business, and as has been referred to above, let us all thank them for the class they have brought to our business.

    Let us not forget that the company was run for many years by the great Howard Hartog, a giant in our business. Famous for his cryptic letters (which we all wrote in those days..). “Dear Mr. Campbell – White, NO, yours sincerely HH” or “Dear Mr. Hurok,artist x is not prepared to pay you commission for not picking him up at the airport”

    I once when I was managing the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa in the 80s tried to reach Jonathan Groves, and Howard picked up the phone instead.Being a young new manager I stammered a bit in awe at the great man, and said I was trying to reach Jonathan. The answer came swiftly, “You have just reached the source of all wisdom instead”

    Thank you David for being such a class act in this tradition, and thank you Jonathan also for both of your great contribution to our business. Good luck to you both.

  • Howard Hartog was one of the great “characters” in an increasingly characterless business. After a meeting in the office, he offered to let me share his taxi into Central London. We talked about people in the music business. Of the head of one successful enterprise, Howard merely grunted, adding “The trouble with Andrew*”, he opined, “is that he wears his ambition on his sleeve!”
    (*not the real name)

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